The Polish Officer | Chapter 5 of 6 - Part: 1 of 52

Author: Alan Furst | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 5322 Views | Add a Review

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De Milja sat back, hands on knees, in the gloom of the darkened

church. He looked at his watch: just after one in the morning. Now the night was very quiet. He sensed somebody nearby, turned to see a

woman standing next to him. She had gray hair, hastily pinned up,

wore a dark, ill-fitting suit, had a stethoscope around her neck. She stared at Fedin for a long moment, knelt by his side and drew the blanket up over his face.

“Wait,” de Milja said. “What are you doing?” She stood, then put

a hand on his shoulder. He felt warmth enter him, as though the

woman had done this so often she had contrived a single gesture to say everything that could be said. Then, after a moment, she took her

hand off and walked away.

17 April. 3:20 a.m. West of Bourges.

Bonneau drove the rattletrap farm truck, Jeanne-Marie sat in the

middle, de Milja by the window. They drove with the headlights off, no more than twenty miles an hour over the dirt farm roads. The truck bounced and bucked so hard de Milja shut his mouth tight to keep

from cracking a tooth.

Three-quarter moon, the fields visible once the eyes adjusted. With airplanes on clandestine missions, you fought the war by the phases of the moon. “The Soulier farm,” Jeanne-Marie said in a whisper. Bonneau hauled the wheel over and the old truck shuddered and swayed

into a farmyard. The dogs were on them immediately, barking and

yelping and jumping up to leave muddy paw marks on the windows.

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A huge silhouette appeared in the yard, the shadows of dogs danc-

ing away from its kicking feet as the barking turned to whining. A shutter banged open and a kerosene lamp was lit in the window of the farmhouse. The silhouette approached the truck. “Bonneau?”

“Yes.”

“We’re all ready to go, here. Come and take a coffee.”

“Perhaps later. The rendezvous is in forty minutes and we’ve got to walk across the fields.”

The silhouette sighed. “Don’t offend my wife, Bonneau. If you do,

I can reasonably well guarantee you that the Germans will be here for generations.”

Jeanne-Marie whispered a curse beneath her breath.

“What? Who is that? Jeanne-Marie? Ma biche— my jewel! Are you going to war?” The silhouette laughed, Bonneau put his forehead on his hands holding the steering wheel. To de Milja he said, “Soulier was my sergeant in the tank corps.” Then, to the silhouette at the truck window, “You’re right, of course, a coffee will be just the thing.”

They entered the farmhouse. The stove had been lit to drive off the night chill. On a plank table there was a loaf of bread and a sawtooth knife on a board, butter wrapped in a damp cloth, and a bottle of red wine. Madame Soulier stood at the stove and heated milk in a black iron pot. “We just got this from Violet,” she said.

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Alice
Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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